Australia’s Crown Resorts nixes agreements with founder Packer

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns a hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed

(Reuters) – Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd CWN.AX said on Wednesday it had terminated an agreement to share confidential information with its billionaire founder and largest shareholder James Packer.

The move comes at a time when the casino magnate’s actions are being scrutinised amid an inquiry into whether Crown should be allowed to operate its A$2.2 billion ($1.56 billion) casino tower in Sydney just months before its scheduled opening.

Packer had earlier this month acknowledged that Crown, in which he holds a 35% stake through his private firm Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), published false statements by distancing itself from “junket” tour operators which brought in gamblers, largely from China.

Media reports had earlier alleged that gamblers serviced by Crown had ties to organised crime.

Crown said in Wednesday’s statement it had also terminated a July 2016 services agreement which allowed it to request services by key CPH executives at pre-agreed hourly rates.

The company is set to host its annual general meeting on Thursday.